Photo : Father Edmar Greif OSB, cropped | Courtesy of Abtei Münsterschwarzach

Our widely known and ever beloved confrere

Father Edmar (Josef) Greif OSB

died Monday, 2 May 2022, at 2:00 a.m.

Father Edmar had been living for a year in the assisted living section of our infirmary. Except for the last month, he was mobile for his age. After the wave of corona in January his health broke down. A short time sick in bed and a brief hospital stay ended with his dying in the Kitzingen hospital.

Josef Greif came into the world in Mittelehrenbach on 4 January 1936. His father Georg died when he was just seven years old. He had to brave the end of the war and the time after with his mother Margareta and two half-siblings.However, his parents’ carpentry business had equipped him for a practical life at an early age

From 1942 to 1947 Josef attended the Leuterbach primary school. He was in the Forchheim gymnasium in 1947–49 and from 1949 to 1953 a student in the St. Ludwig pro-gymnasium. He completed the upper grades in 1957 at the Neues Gymnasium in Würzburg.

On 8 September 1957, Joseph entered the monastery with several later confreres. He was admitted to the novitiate on 11 September 1957 and received the name Edmar. This name was shortened over time by many to Edi, which signified a mark of quality and a compliment.

Frater Edmar professed his temporary vows on 16 September 1958 and his solemn vows on 22 October 1961. After studies at St. Ottilien and the University of Würzburg (1958–1963), he was ordained a priest on 7 July 1963 by Auxiliary Bishop Alfons Kempf.

The years 1963 to 1967 were taken up with the study of sports and athletics in Würzburg and Munich. Between this and his natural talent Fr. Edmar had become an educator. From April 1967 to July 2009 he taught sports and also religion at our gymnasium. He led many of his students to the level of qualifying for the Olympics in the disciplines of gymnastics.

Fr. Edmar was an important personality in the sports activities of the German Youth Sports Association (DJK) and was greatly honored in 2006 at the time of his 70th birthday. The “gymnast priest” retired from teaching in 2009 as Germany’s longest-serving sports teacher.

In addition to his many years of school and association activities, Fr. Edmar directed our St. Placidus Apprentice residence. From April 1974 to July 1987 he was its rector. For over 25 years, his style and commitment shaped the Münsterschwarzacher Kreis, the alumni association of our school.

From 1967 to the mid-1970s, Fr. Edmar organized summer camps in Schönaich, Steigerwald for altar boys from all over the diocese. Later, when holiday care for children was offered, the dedicated teacher was again there.

More than his preaching, his warmth and his joie de vivre reflected the Gospel. Fr. Edmar was a man who could live and let live. Criticizing others was not to be heard from him. He had a religiosity that was unobtrusive and focused on people. The celebration of the liturgy and the celebration of human togetherness came together in his life as one. A missionary Benedictine who never lived under the tropical sun but was truly a missionary.

We will thank God for the life’s work that Fr. Edmar accomplished through his grace on Friday, 6 May, at 2 p.m. Afterwards we will bury him in the monastery cemetery.

Münsterschwarzach, 5 May 2022

Abbot Michael and the community of Münsterschwarzach